Our first stop on our week long Sicily trip as Palermo. We heard some not so flattering things about the city, in particular that it was dirty, noisy, crowded, and dangerous. Well, I can indeed confirm the first 3 are correct, but we definitely didn't feel it was dangerous at all, and we stayed way downtown near Villa Garibaldi and the port which is not known to be one of the best areas.
One thing in particular that we liked about Palermo was that it wasn't overrun with tourists. We walked all over, and only came across a few foreigners here and there. It made it feel very authentic to us.
As for attractions, there's tons to see here. From the huge Cathedral, the magnificent opera, the royal palaces, the Cappuccini catacombs, and the Quattro Canti junction, you definitely wont be at a loss for activities in the city.
I must also recommend stopping by the market near Piazza del Carmine. The food there is varied and interesting, everything from fresh product to meats and cheeses, but the slice of 'real' Palermo you will see here is second to none.